In my recent post “Patchwork home education? Doing it our way” I explained that we had chosen to concentrate our efforts on mastering some important skills and making skills work one of our top priorities over the next few months. I always try and educate on a budget because the truth is I’m poor. Seriously, there have been more weeks than I can count where I’ve been literally counting out the pennies. So it is very important that I don’t overspend or splurge on materials or resources – however tempted I may be.
When I first saw them online I didn’t see the point in buying them to use as a stand-alone activity. Why would I buy a set of dressing frames when the children could practice the same skills whilst getting dressed? I didn’t think they would get much use so hardly wanted to use my tight budget to purchase them.
Admit it, we’ve all wasted our money on something.
We’ve all done it. We’ve purchased something that we have been eyeballing for months only to be disappointed when we finally get it. We think it will be a huge help or benefit and then it lives the rest of its life in the back of a cupboard or drawer never to see the light of day. I’ve probably done this more than most. Wasting money is no fun! These pointless purchases have made me extra cautious when looking for new resources. I want to stretch my budget as far as it will go. I saw a set of dressing frames presented neatly on a rack when I went to visit our closest Montessori nursery. As I observed the children I was surprised to see a young girl not only using them, but also enjoy them. She carefully removed one, completed it, put it back before taking another one. I was in the classroom for at least 20 minutes and she sat and concentrated intently on her work the whole time. I spoke with the teacher who smiled and told me it was not unusual as the children regularly chose this as their work. On another occasion, I noticed a different young girl, no older than 3 1/2, buckling her own shoes. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t buckle my shoes until I was at least 5. I also witnessed the children getting ready to go outside. Not one three or four year old in the classroom asked for help with their shoes, coats or dressing. I was new to Montessori at the time so this was unusual for me to experience.
These dressing frames might be more useful than they look.
I have had them on my wishlist ever since but there always seems to be something more important that I need to buy. The standard wooden Montessori dressing frames are between £10.99 and £12.99 per frame. On my tight budget, this is considered expensive. Sure, I could DIY some. In fact, I’ve even put some old clothes to the side ready to prepare a zip, button and tie frame. But I’m lazy. I just haven’t got around to it. So there they have remained, with the hope that I’ll magically get rich one day and be able to purchase the whole set. A girl can dream, right?
When I was least expecting it…
There was a bit extra left over last month so I headed over to Amazon to re-stock on playdoh and clay to get the kids working those little hand muscles. When I scrolled down to look through the related items at the bottom of the page only to find this set of dressing boards. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the price. Less than £20 for a set of 6??? I’ve ever added anything to my basket so quickly! Not only that, you can get an extra £2 off if you redeem the promotion on the listing. bringing the price down even further. Although they are advertised for toddlers they are perfect for anyone who needs a little extra practice. Not only are they great for fine motor skills, but they also develop concentration, improve independence and boost confidence.
So what are they like in real life?
They are exactly what I expected. They are made from hard paperboard with a woven fabric covering. The set includes snapping, zipping, buttoning, buckling, tieing and lacing boards. Due to the material, they are flexible and the buttons/zips/ snappers, etc are surprisingly tough. In a good way. I can’t see them breaking anytime soon. Of course, they are not as good quality as the wooden dressing frames, but the cost reflects that and I’m happy with it. They arrived in a good amount of time too. I usually only order items that are Prime with next day delivery because I’m extremely impatient, but for these, I made an exception.
Zip has already mastered the snapping and buckling. He really struggled at first but with practice, he has not mastered the skill. I’ve even caught him fastening the snaps on his duvet cover since which he would never attempt before. These boards have not only helped with his fine motor skills but also boosted his confidence. So for all of these reasons I’m going to consider this purchase a win!!
*Please note this post contains an affiliate link for the Montessori dressing boards / frames. It will not cost you any extra if you purchase through the link but I would receive a small percentage to go towards the cost of running the blog and towards more resources. I have also included a regular link HERE for those who choose not to use affiliate links. Thank you for your support <3*